Monday, March 5, 2012

This Week's Dinner Menu {week 5}

hello! happy monday! i hope you had a fabulous weekend!
and welcome to week 5 of the dinner menu planner :)
i am having so much fun trying new recipes and sharing them with you! i also have noticed we are saving a lot of money at the grocery store, because we're planning ahead. i hope your family is enjoying it too!
this week is a fun week with tasty dishes that are healthy too :)

if you have some favorite recipes you would like to share please email me 
and i will add them to an upcoming menu!
Thai Chicken and Noodle Salad

This one-bowl Asian meal is spicy, salty, sour, and sweet -- all at once. The secret's in the sauce, made from fragrant kitchen standbys. The salad has terrific texture, with crisp carrots and cucumber, tender noodles, and (if you like) crunchy peanuts.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Serves 4


1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced crosswise
Spicy Asian Dressing (recipe below)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, such as safflower
2 carrots, sliced into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
1 English cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
1/4 cup fresh basil, torn
Bean sprouts, chopped peanuts, fresh mint leaves, red-pepper flakes, and sliced scallion greens, for garnish (optional)
Coarse salt3 1/2 ounces Chinese rice noodles, broken in half if long

Spicy Asian Dressing:
4 thinly sliced scallion whites
2 minced garlic cloves
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons light-brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste (or 1 minced canned anchovy)
1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes

In a medium bowl, mix together all ingredients.
Directions for Salad
Place chicken and half of dressing in a resealable plastic bag (reserve remaining dressing). Marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes (or refrigerate up to overnight).
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook noodles until tender. Drain, and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. Transfer to a platter.
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Working in batches, cook chicken (do not crowd skillet) until cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes; transfer to platter on top of noodles.
Top with carrots, cucumber, and basil. Drizzle with reserved dressing, and sprinkle with garnishes, if desired.

Image and recipe source: Everyday Food, May 2008

Fresh Pasta with Prawns and Lemon Oil
In Sicily’s fishing villages, rustic handmade pasta is tossed with olive oil, garlic and fresh seafood. It’s all about casual simplicity—and making the most of the day’s catch. Inspired by that tradition, we created this recipe using prawns and lemon-infused olive oil. For the best results, make your own pasta from scratch.

Kosher salt, to taste
3/4 lb. fresh pasta dough, cut into tagliolini (see related recipe at left)
1 1/4 cups olive oil
2 lemons, 1 zested
3 cups coarse bread crumbs
2 lb. prawns, peeled and deveined
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. anchovy paste
1/4 cup capers, rinsed and drained
2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for serving (optional)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Salt the water, add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain the pasta in a colander, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water. Rinse the pasta with cool water; set aside.

Pour 1 cup of the olive oil into a small saucepan. Using a knife, cut the peel off 1 lemon and add the peel to the pan. Set over medium heat and heat the oil until just warm. Remove the pan from the heat and let stand for 30 minutes. Strain the lemon oil; set aside.

In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm the remaining 1/4 cup plain olive oil. Add the bread crumbs and cook, stirring, until browned and toasted, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

Wipe out the sauté pan, set over medium-high heat and warm 1 Tbs. of the lemon oil. Season the prawns with salt and pepper. Add half of the prawns to the pan and cook until pink and opaque throughout, 1 to 2 minutes per side; stir in 1 tsp. of the garlic during the last 30 seconds of cooking. Transfer the prawns to a bowl. Wipe out the pan and repeat with 1 Tbs. of the lemon oil, the remaining prawns and 1 tsp. garlic. Toss the prawns with the lemon juice.

In the same pan over medium-high heat, warm 1 Tbs. of the lemon oil. Add the anchovy paste and stir until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Add 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking water, the pasta, capers and lemon zest and stir until heated through, adding more cooking water as needed. Transfer to a platter. Top with the prawns, bread crumbs and parsley. Drizzle with some of the lemon oil (reserve the remaining oil for another use). Sprinkle with cheese and serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

Image and recipe source: Williams-Sonoma Kitchen

Pastor Ryan’s Mexican Lasagna
4 cups Unprepared Rice
6 cups (to 8 Cups) Low Sodium Chicken Broth/stock
4 whole (to 8) Tomatoes (up To You)
2 whole (to 3) Onions (up To You)
8 cloves (to 14 Cloves) Of Garlic (up To You)
Taco Seasoning (or Chili Powder, Paprika, And Cumin) To Taste
1 can (to 2 Cans) Black Or Pinto Beans (up To You)
3 pounds Lean Ground Beef
2 jars (16 Ounce) Salsa Verde
Flour Tortillas
3 packages (16 Ounces) Mexican Cheese Blend
1 jar (16 Ounce) Enchilada Sauce
3 cans Corn, Drained
Sour Cream, to taste
Cilantro, to taste
Preparation Instructions

Begin by preparing rice with chicken broth/stock. Once prepared, salt to taste.

Chop up tomatoes, onions, and garlic as small as you prefer. Saute in pan with a tablespoon or so of butter. Add approximately 3 tablespoons chili powder, and 1 ½ tablespoon of both paprika and cumin. Stir until nicely combined.

Feel free to add beans if you like them… no need to drain. Mix cooked rice together with tomato/onion/garlic mixture.

Brown the ground beef using about 3 tablespoons chili powder, 1 ½ tablespoon, paprika and 1 ½ tablespoon of cumin and salt to taste with about 4-6 ounces of water to create the taco beef.

Spread one container of salsa verde in the bottom of a large casserole or baking dish. Layer on tortillas covering salsa verde. Some overlapping is expected.

Divide your rice mixture in half and spread it over the layer of tortillas. Divide cheese in half and layer it on top of the rice layer. Approximately 24 ounces of cheese per layer.

Add another layer of tortillas on top of your cheese layer. Pour enchilada sauce over the tortillas and spread it out evenly.

Add layer of browned ground beef. Add 3 cans of corn (drained) on top of beef layer. Then the remaining amount of rice mixture on top of corn layer followed by the remaining jar of salsa verde, on top of which you will add the remaining cheese (approximately 24ounces) to the top…this is our final layer of ingredients. Sprinkle top with some taco seasoning or cayenne pepper.

Bake at 375º for 25-35 minutes until cheese has melted and begins to brown a bit.


Tomato, Olive, and Fresh Mozzarella Salad with Basil Vinaigrette
1 can large black olives, cut in half (6 oz. olives after draining)
3 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 cup fresh mozzarella pearls, cut in half (or use regular fresh mozzarella and cut into pieces
1/2 cup vinaigrette dressing (I used my favorite vinaigrette, but any type of homemade or bottled vinaigrette that you like will work. A good choice would beNewman's Own Olive Oil and Vinegar Dressing, which is widely available and has only 1 gram of sugar.)
1/2 cup chopped or torn fresh basil leaves
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Drain olives and fresh mozzarella pearls while you cut cherry tomatoes in half; place tomatoes in bowl. Cut olives and mozzarella pearls in half and put in bowl with tomatoes.

Wash basil and spin dry in salad spinner or dry with paper towels, then chop or tear basil into small pieces. Mix chopped basil into vinaigrette dressing, then gently combine dressing with the tomato mixture. Season to taste with fresh ground black pepper and serve immediately.

Image and recipe source: Kalyn's Kitchen

Spicy Sesame Noodles with Chopped Peanuts and Thai Basil
1 tablespoon peanut oil
2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons Asian sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon (or more) hot chili oil*
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 pound fresh Chinese egg noodles or fresh angel hair pasta
12 green onions (white and pale green parts only), thinly sliced
1/2 cup coarsely chopped roasted peanuts
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh Thai basil leaves (krystina here; i have actually made this recipe with regular fresh basil and we love it - in case you can't find thai basil or happen to always have a large abundance of regular basil on hand because you love it so much like me.)

Heat peanut oil in small skillet over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Transfer to large bowl. Add next 6 ingredients; whisk to blend.

Place noodles in sieve over sink. Separate noodles with fingers and shake to remove excess starch. Cook in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, stirring occasionally. Drain and rinse under cold water until cool. Drain thoroughly and transfer to bowl with sauce. Add sliced green onions and toss to coat noodles. Let stand at room temperature until noodles have absorbed dressing, tossing occasionally, about 1 hour. Stir in peanuts and Thai basil; toss again. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature.

Image and recipe source: Bon Appitit July 2007

Garlicky Broiled Salmon and Tomatoes

4 6-ounce pieces skinless salmon fillet
4 medium tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
8 sprigs fresh thyme
4 cloves garlic, sliced

Heat broiler. Place salmon and tomatoes, cut-side up, in a broilerproof roasting pan or on a rimmed baking sheet.
Drizzle with oil and season with ¾ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Sprinkle salmon with paprika. Scatter thyme and garlic over the top.
Broil until salmon is opaque throughout and tomatoes are tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

Easy Shepherd's Pie
*this is a family favorite :)
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 50 minutes
Serves 4

1 1/2 lbs ground round beef
1 onion chopped
1-2 cups vegetables - chopped carrots, corn, peas
1 1/2 - 2 lbs potatoes (3 big ones)
8 tablespoons butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup beef broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt, pepper, other seasonings of choice


1. Peel and quarter potatoes, boil in salted water until tender (about 20 minutes).

2. While the potatoes are cooking, melt 4 Tablespoons butter (1/2 a stick) in large frying pan.

3. Sauté onions in butter until tender over medium heat (10 mins). If you are adding vegetables, add them according to cooking time. Put any carrots in with the onions. Add corn or peas either at the end of the cooking of the onions, or after the meat has initially cooked.

4. Add ground beef and sauté until no longer pink. Add salt and pepper. Add worcesterchire sauce. Add half a cup of beef broth and cook, uncovered, over low heat for 10 minutes, adding more beef broth as necessary to keep moist.

5. Mash potatoes in bowl with remainder of butter, season to taste.

6. Place beef and onions in baking dish. Distribute mashed potatoes on top. Rough up with a fork so that there are peaks that will brown nicely. You can use the fork to make some designs in the potatoes as well.

7. Cook in 400 degree oven until bubbling and brown (about 30 minutes). Broil for last few minutes if necessary to brown.